Where are the attack ads?
May 25th, 2012
02:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Where are the attack ads?

Washington (CNN) - Remember all those negative campaign commercials during the presidential primaries?

Well guess what: Now that the general election's underway, the television ads have been much more positive.

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According to Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad spending, 51% of broadcast TV spots in the race for White House have been positive, while 49% have been negative, since April 10. That's the day former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his presidential campaign. Santorum was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's main rival for the Republican presidential nomination, and when he left the race, Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee.

The spots counted in the CMAG data include ads by the campaigns, party committees and independent groups.

"We may look back in November and see that 2012 was the most negative campaign ever, but thus far, that's not the case. Since the Republican primary dust settled, the early phase of the general election air war has been marked by a basically even tonal split," CMAG Vice President Elizabeth Wilner told CNN.

That 51%-49% positive to negative ratio is a world of difference from the primaries. According to a political advertising analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project (which used CMAG data), 70% of presidential campaign commercials that ran during the primaries, from the start of last year through mid-April, were negative in nature.

Contrast those figures to 2008 when less than one-in-ten of the ads that ran during the same time period criticized an opponent.

Also see:

Obama campaign expands Bain attack and general election ad buys

Poll: Romney takes lead in Florida

Palin endorses Utah's Hatch in Senate race

Arkansas, Kentucky primaries pose challenge for Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Ads
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Obama -- Our FIRST Cow Pie President, Served Fresh Daily

    I'm sure the Cow Pie President and his Cow Pie Friends have plenty of cow pie to serve up to the American people. They've been handing it out for 4 years and will continue until November.

    May 25, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    In what planet? The flp floppef, under the guise of some majority right wing group has had ads here in MD for a couple of weeks. Hence my shout out to the DNC of when are they going to have their own ads immediately following the lies to set the record straight.
    Just because this clown doesn't endorse them at the end it doesn't mean he is not awarenof the. Then again he has lied so much that like a schizophrenic he can't tell the difference between real and made up. He is looking real tired and those daddy jeans are beginning to look even more uncomfortable on him.

    May 25, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. E Grebe

    LOL – In SW Ohio the super PACs have been hammering Obama & Sen. Brown for months!!

    May 25, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Tyrone

    Yo Thats EASY, DA, Its Memorial Day Weekend, Dey gonna Commence on Tuesday!!!

    May 25, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Tyrone

    Yo Paul, uou aint exactly the brightest bulb. Can I have your Job.

    May 25, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. gg

    when romney says middle class he talking to ceo,s and investors everybody below that are poor folks and the system allready takes care of them

    May 25, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Myviewis

    Oh, you mean Democrats are upset to have to remove those rose-colored glasses and see things for what they really are. Truth, reality, that's what Democrats call Negative. Unfortunately, not all of us are out hiking, drinking beer, hanging around the college campus discussing philosophy, being tardy, some of us have to work and pay bills and think for ourselves and take care of ourselves and not wait for the government to tell us what to eat and when.

    May 25, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans didn't expect the economy to improve so their attack ads backfired on them because they did nothing but obstruct and vote to extend the Bush era tax cuts for the 1%.

    May 25, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Stuffit

    Obama doesn't need to buy any the liberally biased media does it for him. He calls it speech and the liberally biased media unquestioningly carries every word and promotes it as the truth while we taxpayer pay for it and the cost of delivering it. If we actually had real news organizations the most inept, incompetent, corrupt president we have ever had would never have been elected and if he had been, he would have been impeached and iether in jail or awaiting trial by now.

    May 25, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Myviewis

    Obviously, those that don't work don't understand that the Bush Era Tax Cuts has helped numerous small businesses keep the doors open and hold on to their employees, it has kept employees employed. But then, those that don't work wouldn't care if small businesses can keep doors open because ......they don't care.

    May 25, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. Scott

    The author does journalism a great disservice by proclaiming that the general election is "underway". There are enough delegates at stake in Texas and California to deny Romney the 1144 he needs to be the nominee, but the media keeps drilling it into viewers heads that everything is wrapped up... that if you live in one of these states, your vote is meaningless. On the contrary, if people in California and Texas were told the truth for once, they'd know that they have the power to quite easily take the nomination away from Romney. Lying "journalists" distort the playing field in a very significant way.

    May 25, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Myviewis

    "when romney says middle class he talking to ceo,s and investors everybody below that are poor folks and the system allready takes care of them"
    This people are mainly Democrats being that Democrats have more college degrees than Republicans and these jobs require the employee to hold either a Bachelor's Degree or Masters Degree and that honor goes to Democrats.

    May 25, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Bern Berk

    Please anyone but Trump. The ultimate ticket would be Romney-Bachman. Then we can have unemployment below 6% and gas at $2.00 a gallon. Happy days are here again.

    May 25, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Lionel

    I got to laugh how Republicans are using a phrase that Obama gave about Romney "Cow pie in the sky". Doesn't these people have any creativity left.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    May 25, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    @StuffIt, please! if that was true the would would be hammering the flip flopper about his birth certificate and 2011 taxes. The new media are a bunch of cowards. They probably think that by being nice to the bishop that he will do interviews with them instead of in the safe planet haven of faux news.

    May 25, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. tumbleweed

    Myviewis that tax cuts do not enable small businesses to keep staff and add staff. It's demand for what they produce that determines if they have enough workers or need to add workers. If it was tax cuts that did it, then why weren't those who got those tax cuts hiring people? They've been gtting those tax cuts for 10 years? They got the tax cuts but let people go. The tax cuts just put money in their pockets that they used to buy stuff for themselves or invest. I do have a job and pay taxes.Yourviewis very uninformed...

    May 25, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Common Sense Grandma

    Maybe it was Santorum and Gingrich. I heard Gingrich say during an interview that going after Romney on Bain Capital did not work. Perhaps it did not work for him because people distrusted him more than they distrust Romney.

    May 25, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. curious

    Just wait. Rmoney has little postive to say about himself, so has no choice but to rearch out to the tea party people.

    May 25, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "some of us have to work and pay bills and think for ourselves and take care of ourselves and not wait for the government to tell us what to eat and when."

    Might want to turn off FOX News then and get down to the business of thinking for yourself.

    May 25, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Are you that anxious for negative ads to come out CNN? Slow news days?

    May 25, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Myviewis

    @tumbleweed – I'm a small business owner and here are my bills to pay: Utilities, health insurance, auto insurance, liability insurance, worker's compensation insurance, payroll, rent, cell phones, phone, coffee, water, toilet paper, office supplies, web page, city taxes, county tax, tax permit, license, inspection, dumpster, marketing, advertisement, gasoline, equipment, repairs, unemployment tax, sales tax, commissions, travel expenses, training. Should I go on with business expenses???? Do you pay all these expenses also??? Guess not, right? You have no idea what your employer pays out weekly, monthly?????

    May 25, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Juan Rodriguez

    Just wait, they are coming.

    May 25, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |